FEBRUARY 1958 – OPIUMIZED SAINTS.
Baba began to discourse:
For one to declare that he is a saint and allow people to bow down to and revere him, without real authority, is to feed one’s ego with intense happiness. Simultaneously, with the feeding of the ego comes a feeling of well-being.
One who is addicted to opium (eating or smoking) derives a similar feeling of well-being, though temporarily. After a time, the opium addict begins to feel the after-effects of opium such as severe constipation, loss of appetite, headache, dullness and drowsiness. He then begins to realize that it would have been better had he not become addicted. But, unfortunately, he cannot give up the habit. He has become its slave. He realizes this too late and sinks into deeper addiction, being tempted to take greater and greater quantities of opium to keep pace with the gradual loss of the feeling of well-being.
Similarly, one who indulges in happiness by allowing people to bow down to him, without real authority, feels the prick of conscience later on. And with this feeling he realizes that he has no authority, but has got so used to the habit of feeding his ego in this manner that he is unable to stop the practice. He continues indulging and, after a time, does not pay heed to the pricks of conscience. He becomes numb to the voice within.
After years of addiction, it so happens that one day the opium addict is found lying unconscious in a gutter of filth. An extra overdose of opium proves tragic for the addict who lost complete control over himself. The passerby scoffs, ridicules, points at him as a confirmed opium addict.
In the same way, a person who poses as a saint, without really being one, starts to behave in an unworthy manner after years of indulgence in addiction to overdoses of homage. With him, unlike the opium addict, his unworthy behavior is accounted as “perfection” by his followers. When he abuses others his words are accepted as blessings! When he beats someone, his beating is accepted as the descent of his grace! When he indulges in lovemaking with the opposite sex, it is accepted as pure love!
In short, whatever he does, anything and everything, is accepted in a spirit of reverence and love by the followers of the man who has posed as a saint. The more unruly his behavior, the greater the admiration of the followers. And the greater the admiration, the richer becomes the feeding of the ego of that man. Eventually, he falls from the high pedestal of admiration because, not being a genuine saint, the rich doses of admiration and reverence prove too much for the ego to digest. With his fall this “opiumized” saint is ridiculed. Those very persons who once called themselves his followers now scoff and call him a fraud.
Just as an opium addict has his personal friends who extol the effects of opium and bring into their fold innocent people, so, too, a person who poses as a saint has a ring of followers who extol him and his “miracles” to attract others to their fold. Such miracles may be just coincidences, or even genuine experiences of simple and devout followers who get desired results through their own faith in and love even for such an opiumized saint.
One who has no authority and yet permits people to bow down to him plays a losing game, while those who bow down gain. The unburdening of sanskaras mental impressions of those who bow down at his feet is the cause of his loss, for he takes on sanskaras that can only be wiped off by many more births.
The point to be considered is this: if thousands can benefit at the cost of a false saint, should this person be allowed to continue? If such a person is already in contact with a Perfect Master and loves him, the Master immediately puts a stop to this and corrects the man’s shortcomings, and warns his followers about such unauthorized behavior. If, however, such a person is not already in contact with a Perfect Master, the Master never interferes, because eventually this person also derives some benefit. The Master knows that this is the play of ego. The cause of any eventual benefit to such a deluded person is that, at the cost of his own condemnation, he proved to be a dust bin for thousands to heap their sanskaras therein.
There is no doubt that in his subsequent birth his past behavior makes the person suffer much more due to this burden of acquired sanskaras. But, with the intensity of his suffering, the redeeming factor is the speed with which these acquired sanskaras get wiped off. They are wiped off in proportion to the intensity of suffering. Along with the wiping off of the acquired sanskaras, his own sanskaras also get wiped off speedily.
Just as an unauthorized person, posing as a saint, proves a source of benefit to thousands, so also he proves of harm to many. All this is a play in illusion!
As an opium addict feels happy to give a tiny bit of opium to another, and that other, when he gets the taste of it, hands over another small dose to a friend, they thus create a circle of opium-eaters. The two or three persons close to the opiumized saint of our discourse start spreading news that such and such a woman was blessed with a child, and that another got her wish fulfilled, and that he, a “saint,” performed many such miracles. A clique of followers is created around the opiumized saint.
This happy picture does not last long, for after some years it so happens that at least one person finds out one day that this saint, his Guru, is a fraud and is not God-Realized. The impact of such a great setback in his confirmed belief is so forceful that all his sanskaras, which he had inadvertently transferred on to the “saint” in his belief and devotion, all of a sudden recoil on him spontaneously and overburden him afresh. Thus, the person who had placed faith in the opiumized saint suffers a great deal.
Let us view the picture from another angle: suppose I am the opiumized saint and you love me and revere me as the Perfect Master. Your love becomes so deep and your faith so great that you actually make progress on the spiritual path, and really begin to have experiences of the path. In this instance, you are surely benefited at the hands of an opiumized saint. Whereas in the previous case, the opiumized saint has done a great harm. Through such false saints harm and benefit recoil and accrue.
In India we find people without spiritual authority allowing others to bow down to them. Even one of my old followers (Vibhuti), after many years of contact with me, left me thirty years ago and established an ashram at Nasik. You have seen or heard of it as a place of spiritual pilgrimage. He used to tell people: “Baba has made me his chargeman.” People paid much homage to him.
The news reached me, and I sent one man to tell him to stop all this display and nonsense and come back to me. He did not listen. He was very proud and happy with his surroundings.
Three years passed and he established a big following, among whom was a very beautiful woman. It was not a proper marriage and the woman conceived. The police heard of it and the man got frightened. He escaped and ran to me. Then I reminded him that he did not come three years ago when I called. Now, he should either go back and settle with the police or stay with me; however, he would suffer leprosy.
There is no mention of this in any of the books, but it is recorded in Chanji’s diary.
He stayed with me and he did get leprosy, all the time repenting. I forgave him and instructed him to go out and beg for his food, to be without money and not touch women. I sent him wandering; he was not to stay anywhere and to return after a year. He roamed about for two years and then came back. He was then cured of the disease. Now he loves me fully and longs to tell everyone about me.
But all this is a play in illusion. It is all my play! None can fathom me as I really am. I am in everyone and I do everything; simultaneously, I also do nothing.
Be brave. Be happy. I and you all are One, and the Infinite that eternally belongs to me will one day belong to every individual.Lord Meher, 1st. ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 15, pp. 5286 – 5290. The Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust, Ahmednagar, India are the copyright holders of all of Meher Baba’s messages, discourses and photographs, unless otherwise stated.